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This is an extensive and remote area of grazing marshes at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. In addition to the grazing land there are reedbeds, freshwater fleets, tidal creeks and two small islands in the estuary.
Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Eurasian Wigeon occur in thousands along with Greater White-fronted Goose, Common Teal and Common Shelduck. Bewick's Swan winters here in good numbers, the same group that is seen at the nearby Abberton Reservoir. In small numbers, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Eider and Long-tailed Duck occur regularly on the fleets or offshore as well as divers, Great Crested Grebe and Slavonian Grebe.
Waders such as Grey Plover, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlew are present in winter but a greater variety occurs on passage when Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper also occur.
In 2001 a female Wilson's Phalarope was present on and off for three months.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Bewick's Swan, Greater White-fronted Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Bearded Tit, European Goldfinch, Twite, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
This reserve can be entered from a minor road to Salcott from Tollesbury. After 1km a track on the right is a public footpath leading to the seawall coastal footpath. This path round the marshes is more than 12km in length and as the area is very exposed adequate clothing is essential in winter.
Grid reference: TL959122
Tel: 01621 869015
Content and images originally posted by Steve